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attachment parenting and naps

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 


We have been attachment-parenting my 4month old son and for the most part things are great. We co-sleep, EBF, babywear, cloth-diaper, and EC. I work from home full-time during business hours and usually just babywear during that time and he gets lots of naps in his sling while I work at the computer (with breaks for nursing, playtime and diaper changes, etc.). It's the only way I've found that I can get my work done and he's a happy baby because of it so its worked out so far.

My work-from-home situation is temporary and the daycare we visited advised us to gently get him used to sleeping on his own so it wont be such a shock to him when he starts. I have no intention to stop co-sleeping, but it would be great if we could put him in his crib for naps and start him in his crib at night sometimes. (On the weekends I don't want to go to bed early, but have to in order for him to go to sleep!)

In the sling he will sleep for 1-3 hours at a time but if I try to gently transfer him to the crib or car-seat he will wake up after only 5-15 minutes MAD. I then nurse or wear him back down and try again, but he's up again in 15 minutes. If I keep trying he gets overtired and has a total meltdown (and by total meltdown I mean screaming till he's practically blue in the face, no matter how much I hold him, nurse him, sing to him, or try to comfort him.) Now that hes so used to sleeping with me at all times, even dad can't get him to nap anymore and I see this as a problem. Did I mess up by not trying to transfer him from sling to crib early on?  Is it possible to overdo the attachment parenting thing? I refuse to do CIO but we do need to come up with some solutions.

Oh, and he will spit out a pacifier after a couple of minutes and seems to not care about the sleep-sheep white-noise. Will not sleep in his swing.

I have the no-cry-sleep solution and have started to read it so I am hoping that helps, but I am interested in hearing some real-world experiences of those who have gone through similar issues and how you overcame it.


post #2 of 21

No I don't think you messed up-- you are parenting as your instincts tell you to, and I think that is a wonderful thing.


Do you have a swing? Sometimes the transition from wearing to swing works well because of the movement. A tight swaddle might help too. My daughter was about 4 months old when she started napping in the swing. It started out with shorter naps, but she got better and better about it until she was napping up to 3-4 hours there. The transition to bed was pretty easy for us after that, though we didn't try that until her swing broke at 8 months old. Again, the swaddle might help that transition.

post #3 of 21

I agree with the tight swaddle. Swaddle, rock to sleep in glider or bouncy ball and then gently transfer to bed... the swaddle should help him from noticing the difference between your arms and the bed and also help his movements from waking him up. You may also want to put a shirt of yours by him so he smells you in his sleep...

post #4 of 21

If you nurse down to sleep, try poking him to stay awake the entire time. He will have wanted to fall asleep the whole time that when you transfer him to bed, he *might* drift to sleep. Or he might explode! Just another idea to try. This is something that can be replicated in a daycare scenario. 

post #5 of 21

My son was like that, and I eventually started putting him to sleep on his Boppy--it seemed to mimic arms enough that he stayed comfortable. Sometimes once we'd set him down, we could carefully move the Boppy out from under him and get him lying down on his own. He did start sleeping just fine without the Boppy by the time he was 1, at which point he'd also been in daycare for a few months, which probably helped.


Don't worry--something will work. You're not being "too AP"; some babies just want more contact than others. It's sweet in some ways, but can get a bit wearing sometimes. I have to admit, now that DS is 18 months old and still spends part of every night sleeping next to me, I kind of hope that my second isn't quiteso insistent on snuggling!

post #6 of 21

Hey Mama,

I feel your stress, my LO is really hard to get to sleep independently. She's 7 mo old now, I've noticed in the last month or two when I go away and leave her with her dad for more then an hour, she goes to sleep fine on her own. It's just when I'm around she KNOWS I'll keep her close, so she refuses to go down for me. 

I used to work in childcare as a teen. Don't let what the daycare worker stress you out, it's going to be a big transition for your LO regardless of how you "prepare" him. The people who are watching him are experienced, they will comfort him if he needs comfort, and I'm sure they will be able to settle him in for naps eventually. 

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the tips, Ladies! I think he must be going through a phase at the moment. The last couple of nights have been really difficult, with him waking every hour. We co-sleep and he used to wake up to nurse and fall right back asleep. Now he is waking up restless, wiggling around, rolling his head back and forth and popping on and off the breast. He just wont settle back down and I don't know why. Maybe early signs of teething or a growth spurt? At any rate, I don't want to mess with his naps right now untill he's getting decent sleep at night again. He's become so grumpy!

post #8 of 21

4 months old is a really common age for sleep "regressions," so hang in there, mama!!

post #9 of 21

Our son had a lot of trouble napping without being held and rocked as well.  He just started taking actual "naps" 30min-1hr without being held around 6 mos.  Before that he'd wake up within 20 min, usually less if we put him down.  He also sleeps in a Boppy with a pillow on the open side and sleeps in/on that like a little nest.  He definitely likes to be held/cuddled so this helps him to feel like he is being held, I guess.  It is tough figuring this all out, it was for me anyway.  Good luck :)

post #10 of 21

That sounds like my daughter! She is 6 months. She is in daycare 2 days a week and they are able to get her to nap in a little bouncer thing that they rock. She only sleeps for 30 mins at a time. At home we nap her in the baby carrier and she sleeps for 1-2 hours. At around 3 months we were able to get her to nap in the swing, but it took at least 15 minutes of shushing and rocking it to get her down and we just got lazy and stopped doing it. 


Will you lo be at daycare full-time? Maybe you can start by having your dh wear him for naps at home. Also, try the swing again, swaddled with a blanket that you have slept with (send a mom smell blanket to daycare too). You have not ruined him, but did what worked best for everyone at the moment. Now that your situation is changing, you just have to find something else that will work. It will be ok!

post #11 of 21

My son is not even a month old but I find myself worrying about this already.  I like the AP style of things and co-sleeping/wearing/holding him a lot.  But I also know we start daycare in a few months and want it to be not too horrible for naps.  With DD many years ago this was a major issue and I don't want that again.  He seems to sleep the most sound in the mid to late mornings and so my goal is to use that time to "practice" him sleeping with no-one holding him, especially since the evenings are more like to be cranky times where we really need to hold or wear him.


I just read these posts and today am using the boppy and have him swaddled.  This as that seems like something that would transition easily and I am feeling a great need to have a "plan" or something like that in place.  This might be something that would work for me and him as my plan.  Try this for morning naps pretty much everyday.. and maybe occasionally other times as well.  He slept for an hour this way, then woke up hungry and wet and I just changed and fed him and after walking with him a bit put him down again.  So far sleeping again - but in the light stage of making some noises etc.  


I think I definitely have to hold him for 10-15 minutes first before putting him down, at least for now.


vegrunr: do you mean you sort of block the open side with a pillow and then the legs are resting up... so butt down in the middle with head and legs up higher?


For those that swaddle for naps are you also swaddling at night if you co-sleep?



Question for anyone: If you could look back to this point with a 1 month old, would you do anything differently or did you do anything that you would recommend in terms of later having a daycare transition be easier?



OP: With my older daughter I had ended up napping in a reclining chair with her laying on me - and that was basically the only way she would nap for a long time.  I will be trying to avoid that this time but I can say even with that and co-sleeping (and many people telling me she would never sleep well on her own) etc, she now sleeps well on her own!   Although there are a few things I might have tried differently I really think she needed that closeness and it helped her so much in the toddler years that she had that attachment to me and I truly believed it helped her grow and blossom and explore.  


I truly believe that and yet already find myself worried and questioning with this baby - sigh - it just really is not easy.  Nothing is the perfect solution!  It is about getting by and doing what works at each stage, and not doing things you are truly against.  I think by wearing your baby so much you have likely helped his emotional development, it might be slightly harder to transition to daycare is some ways then if you had done things differently but I don't think it would be worth it to you or him in the long run!    (I also think I should read and absorb my own advice here and stop worrying so much - there are reasons they want to be held and worn!).



post #12 of 21

Maybe you could try getting him to sleep some way other than wearing him. Maybe its just me, but I generally can't smoothly pull my lo out of either the sling or the wrap and usually end up waking him if he's asleep. It could be that you are moving him around too much and waking him slightly.


How long are you waiting after he falls asleep before laying him down? One thing I read from a Dr. Sears book is that it takes a good 20 mins for babies to be in a deep enough sleep to be able to sleep through being laid down.


Is the crib bedding warm? Cool bedding wakes DS2 up and woke DS1 up when he was that little. Just laying a flannel receiving blanket on top of the sheet was all I needed to do to solve that issue.


I think in your position I'd try to ease my lo into the transition of sleeping away from me by using something that moved. Either a swing or rocking the carseat (I"m assuming you have a bucket seat).


Good luck, mama! I hope you find something that works! And no, I don't think you over did the AP. thumb.gif

post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 

We had some success this weekend with DH wearing him in his boba carrier and then transitioning him to the crib. It is a lot easier to get him out of that without disturbing his sleep than it is with the sleepy wrap or the ring sling. He still didn't nap for quite as long but it was better. I guess we just have to keep trying! Any suggestions for a carrier that is easy to get them out of smoothly thats good for petite/short torsoed ladies? I haven't tried the boba because DH wants to leave that adjusted for himself (he's very tall) so I would need to get one of my own.

post #14 of 21

I have a friend who is fairly petite and likes the Beco (she has the butterfly2 I think).  You might be able to sort of hold baby and unhook everything then lean down and lay down baby (with carrier still under back) on a crib or something.

post #15 of 21

Is it at all possible (sorry I havn't read all the replies!) to not consider a daycare and to instead find a childminder/nanny? (a childminder is actually cheaper than a daycare/nursery here - nanny more expensive but you can find them for cheaper than daycares depending on the hours you have them work)  As a childminder/nanny myself - if one were to hire me, I would of course be happy to carry on doing things as mum would do them.  I couldn't imagine trying to get my son to sleep any other way - it really wasn't until he was 10 months old that I could get him to sleep in the sling first and then put him down to nap...nevermind getting him to sleep by just laying him down! lol...DS1 - I could!...but then he was a very different kind of baby!  haha


Shame I don't live near you!...I desperately need a job (so I could promise you cheaper than daycare! haha)!  The people I was a nanny for no longer needed me after DS2 was born.  We babywear and EC as well - and heck, I could even wet nurse for you! haha 

post #16 of 21

After I wear or nurse DS to sleep (or to sleepy), I always need to give him a few minutes of lying on our bed before moving him to the crib.  Worth a try?

post #17 of 21

My guy went through this at 2 months, which I know is a very different age than 4 months, but maybe my story will help you think of something! I have a back injury and simply couldn't hold or wear him while he napped--I try to save my strength for his awake times-- so we had to figure out some way to get him to nap, as he was exhausted and miserable. After some brainstorming at a LLL meeting, I swaddled him, laid him on his back in the sidecarred crib and then laid over him to nurse him (it was awkard--LOL). That way, he was already in sleeping position but could still nurse to sleep. Once he was asleep, I inched away and moved my pillow or  our wrap closer to him for scent. The first few days, I sat with a hand on him for 20 minutes but within a week I was able to just swaddle him and pat him to sleep and now I just swaddle him.

post #18 of 21
I've asked myself the same and really wish i'd read that book at 3 or 4 months. DS is doing fine at daycare (oh how I wish I could afford a nanny or even a nanny share) but naps if I am in the house work one way only. I either nurse on the couch and stay there the next hour or 2, or I nurse side lying on our bed (we co-sleep) and once he's out I make sure the pillow is touching the top of his head and something soft that smells like me is near his face. He is over 8 months and rolling etc so i'm not worried about this. Usually I nurse on the bed so I can sneak out and clean house! Oh, I have also gotten really good at substituting a pacifier and knowing when it is ' safe' (ie sleeping) to do so.

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post #19 of 21

A swing might work. Or bouncing to sleep while being held rather than being in the sling. Have you tried a rocking (outside of the sling). Side-lying nursing on the family bed?

post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 

I'm happy to report that for the past week and a half he has been napping well in his car seat. I have been nursing him to sleep and then transferring him into the car seat and it has been working well.


Also his first tooth cut through the other day so maybe the previous restlessness was teething pain.

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